James Hubbard hailed his PDC Unicorn World Youth Final victory as ‘a dream come true’, after the 19-year-old beat Michael van Gerwen at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday.
The Norfolk youngster put on a highly impressive display to overcome his 23-year-old opponent in front of 10,000 people, ahead of the final of the McCoy’s Premier League.
Hubbard banished any fears of nerves on the big stage when he opened the match with a brilliant eleven dart leg, before going on to take the match 6-3.
“It feels amazing,” said the former painter and decorator, who only turned professional in January. “When you start playing darts, this is the stuff that dreams are made off.
“To play and win in front of 10,000 people at the O2 is just a dream come true and to come away as World Champion is amazing.”
Hubbard, who took the first three legs before van Gerwen replied, admitted that he was nervous ahead of the match.
He said: “I settled down as soon as I got on stage to be honest. I was nervous before hand but Simon Whitlock helped me brilliantly and gave me some great advice. That was a massive help and the start I made was terrific.”
‘Mighty Mike’ refused to beaten easily and Hubbard knew that he had his work cut out when the Dutchman reduced his lead to 4-3 with a fantastic 102 checkout.
“I did get quite nervous when Michael launched a comeback because he is a quality player,” said Hubbard.
“I missed a few darts a double four to go 5-1 up and then I thought about it for a leg, but I managed to clear my head and get the job done.”
Hubbard won the final two legs of the match to become World Youth Champion, and the youngster declared his gratitude for the support he has received.
“It was the best feeling in the world when that double top went in to win. I’ve come into form recently on the Pro-Tour & I’m over the moon to be in the UK Open next month,” added Hubbard, who heads to Bolton as a top 32 seed after reaching the quarter-finals of a recent qualifier.
“I’ve been helped all the way by the people around me at MODUS. Mark Webster, Paul Nicholson and Simon (Whitlock) have been brilliant. Mark sponsors me and I always want to impress him and repay the faith he has put in me.
“The same goes for everyone involved. Mervyn King will be delighted for me as well. This is for him too. I practise with him a couple of times a week and he drives me to the Pro-Tours. He is like a second dad to me and he has given me so much advice.
“I’m happy for those guys as much as I am for myself because without their support I wouldn’t be here.”
By Chris Murphy